During a short trip to Beaune several months ago, Remoissenet GM and Burgundy insider Pierre Rovani invited us to an intimate dinner, where we savored some of their decades-old wines and learned all sorts of insider tips—including which vineyard sites performed best. When we asked what he thought to be one of the great overperforming sites for Pinot Noir, his eyes sparked. He glanced around, as if checking for eavesdroppers, and then looked us right in the eyes while exclaiming in his signature baritone voice, “Bons Bâtons is the best Bourgogne vineyard. Period.”
We were beyond thrilled to hear it, mostly because at that very moment we had a shipment of 2015 Philippe Clerc’s “Les Bons Bâtons” making its way to our warehouse. Upon telling Pierre, he gave a deep nod of approval—when one of the world’s most renowned wine tasters endorses your purchase, it’s an incredibly reassuring feeling. Handcrafted by Philippe LeClerc, a staunchly traditional and highly praised producer, today’s 2015 spent nearly two years in barrel and another in bottle before release. This sensational offer is among the greatest ultra-classic Burgundies you’ll ever try in this price range. And now, it’s time to share this special gem with all of you. Enjoy.
When it comes to drinking elite Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin, Philippe Leclerc is a label to look for. Learning from his father and the ‘veterans’ in the vineyards at an early age, Philippe applied all of their traditions while adding his own personal touch when he took over. The results are wines with true terroir and incredible openness, which comes from quality vines and extended aging in his (personally) hand-excavated cellar. Fun fact, during his tunneling, he uncovered an old vaulted cave from the 1200s! A man of the earth, Phillipe’s labyrinthine underground cellars are where you’ll find his army of barrels holding his slow-aging wines, as well as a fully-functioning antique tool museum that is open to the public.
But back to Bon Bâtons: This tiny undercover vineyard sits on the outskirts of Chambolle-Musigny in classic clay-limestone and is scrapped over by some of the best names in Burgundy—Barthod, Rion, Geantet-Pansiot, and of course, Leclerc. Philippe farms with a steady eye toward sustainability, implementing organic practices and harvesting his old vines by hand. In the cellar, the grapes undergo a cold soak for up to one week before a partial whole-cluster fermentation. He allows his wine to age 22 months in mostly used French barrels before bottling them unfined and unfiltered. Philippe held onto our allocation in his cellar until it was shipped to us in the spring of this year.
Leclerc’s “Les Bons Bâtons” is a perfect combination of a brilliant vineyard site, classic producer, and blockbuster 2015 vintage, which translates into intoxicating perfume, pleasure, and terroir-specificity in the glass. It pours a radiant ruby core that moves out to magenta hues on the rim and emanates high-toned aromas after a brief decant. We went for 15 minutes before stealing a sip, but for those who wait 30-60 minutes, you’re in for treat—and an even sweeter one if you drink this bottle over the course of several hours. It provides a luscious mix of tension-filled fruit like black cherry, red plums, black raspberry, and strawberry liqueur that combine with warm spices, damp rose petals, forest floor, leather, and turned soil. The medium-bodied palate brings a joyous level of brightness and acidity that brilliantly equalizes the ripeness of 2015. It’s wonderfully juicy with fine-grained tannins that serve to add polish to each dimension of fruit. The wine finishes with long, savory undertones, which only further speaks to its insane value. Serve now and over the next 5-8 years in your largest Burgundy stems (and place some pricey Premier Crus in the mix if you’re blind-tasting others). If it’s more of an intimate setting, savor a few glasses alongside a classic coq au vin recipe. Cheers!
Burgundy / Côte de Nuits
“Les Bons Bâtons” Vineyard
Pinot Noir 100%
Used & New French
Clay & Limestone